NASCAR Dover Notebook: Joey Logano Has No Issues With Denny Hamlin Move At Kansas

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Joey Logano (Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Joey Logano (Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

DOVER, Del. – Denny Hamlin has gotten mixed reviews for the late-race move that triggered a four-car wreck last Saturday night at Kansas Speedway – but not from his peers.

Joey Logano, whose No. 22 Ford was destroyed in the accident, didn’t fault Hamlin for doing everything he could to try to win the race.

And remember, it was contact between the cars of Logano and Hamlin at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, that caused the wreck that sidelined Hamlin with a compression fracture of the spine for four races in 2013.

Last Saturday, Hamlin had a huge run to the outside on a late restart, charged to the front of the field and tried to split the cars of Kyle Larson in the top lane and Brad Keselowski on the bottom. Keselowski spun, and Hamlin followed suit, collecting Larson and Logano in the process.

But Logano had no hard feelings.

“I feel like I’m one of the hardest racers out there, and I would be quite the hypocrite if I asked why he was racing so hard,” Logano said on Friday at Dover in advance of Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism (1 p.m. ET on FS1). “If you ask me, that’s what fans show up to the race track to see. They come to watch a race. They expect us to race. They don’t expect us to just say, ‘Oh, go ahead.’

“They expect us to race, and that’s what they pay money to see. I’m going to race hard. I know that. I’ve done that in the past and I will continue to do that. When Denny made that move, I didn’t blame him. He made a run on the backstretch and had to do something with it. He got in a bad aero spot and both of them got loose. It happens. It’s racing. I am not going to say, ‘Hey, why did you do that?’

“We’re racing, and these things are hard to drive. We are going to make mistakes. There’s a win on the line, and it’s a big deal. It’s hard to do at the Sprint Cup level, and anytime you have a shot it is expected out of us, not just from the fans but from the teams to go out and make the most of it and make it happen. When I look at Denny’s move, I would do the same thing if I was him, so I don’t really have any room to speak.”


Not quite four minutes into Friday’s opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Dover International Speedway, the rear gear in Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet exploded.

Patrick’s car bounced off the outside wall, the back of the car spewed flames, and the wounded Chevy dropped oil on the frontstretch. Patrick’s No. 10 wasn’t the only casualty in the wreck, one that also collected the cars of teammate (and team owner) Tony Stewart and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jamie McMurray.

All three drivers returned to the track in backup cars, with Stewart completing two laps at the end of the 80-minute session.

“I got back to the throttle in (Turns) 3 and 4, and it was like something lost power to the engine, and then it just slid sideways and hit the wall,” Patrick said of her part in the incident. “I’m thinking something with oil… obviously there was a fire, and obviously the car spun basically, but was caught by the wall.

“For sure, there is oil all over underneath the car, and I’m not sure what happened, but for sure these are not things you normally see anymore. I’m sure they will figure it out pretty quickly what it was. Hopefully, Jamie and Tony are okay. It sucks when it takes other people with you, but unfortunate for sure.”

Kurt Busch, Patrick’s teammate, noticed a problem with the rear gear on his No. 41 Chevrolet during his first two practice laps and brought his car back to the garage before a catastrophic failure could occur. As it turned out, Stewart-Haas had changed to a new manufacturer for its rear gears before the Dover race.

After the incidents involving Patrick and Busch, the organization reverted to the gears it had used previously, including a pre-emptive change on Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Chevy. After the switch, Harvick topped the speed chart for the practice session.

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